Link happy to host Chinese shoppers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:09am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 1:13pm

The Link Real Estate Investment Trust yesterday said it would "adjust" to the surge of mainland day trippers to its shopping centres.

Property analysts predict this will reward shareholders while angering local residents concerned about rising prices.

"We are fortunate that the market is coming to us" now that it was "fashionable" to shop on the city's outskirts, said Nicholas Sallnow-Smith, the chairman of the company.

Link Reit owns more than 180 retail and car park properties, with most of them located near public housing estates in the New Territories.

Announcing its interim results, the company attributed its 11.6 per cent jump in net property income to HK$3.49 billion partly to the changing habits of middle-class mainland tourists.

But Sallnow-Smith said that while the company would look into adjusting its retail options, this "absolutely does not mean" shifting towards the high-end luxury market.

Jeff Yau Cheuk-man, an analyst at DBS, said the Link was ideally positioned to benefit from changing patterns in tourism. "More and more day-trippers from Guangdong are coming to Hong Kong. Many are shopping for daily necessities such as milk powder and diapers at the suburban malls," he said.

As retailers scramble for new opportunities near the border, rents are likely to rise faster, according to a September report by Savills World Research.

A survey this year by the Labour Party found that Tin Shui Wai - a poor area with most of its grocery stores located in six markets managed by the Link - had the highest food prices in Hong Kong.